Government must do more to earn the trust and confidence of all Malaysians so as to communicate effectively the unprecedented peril of the Covid-19 pandemic

The Movement Control Order (MCO) has entered into its sixth day but there are still Malaysians not complying with it to stay at home as to raise the question as to whether the MCO would be extended for another two weeks or even longer.

The Government of Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin must do more to earn the trust and confidence of all Malaysians so as to communicate effectively the unprecedented peril of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Muhyddin’s live media conference today is a step in this direction, but it is not enough as more needed to be done. This is why I had suggested last week that he should make daily live telecast – or even twice a day – on the latest development of the Covid-19 crisis in Malaysia.

Even in Italy, which is firmly at the centre of the global Covid-19 pandemic, exceeding China’s death toll last week despite having fewer confirmed infections and smaller populations (Italy’s 60 million compared to China’s 1.4 billion), there are still Italians who do not understand the rationale of the lockdowns implemented a few weeks ago.

This was after the Italian Prime Minister had announced an extension of the 25-day national lockdown imposed since 9th March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic and set to end on April 3, following earlier lockdowns in the whole region of Lombardy and 14 neighbouring provinces affecting 16 million people since late February.

This is why Saverio Chiaravalle, vice president of the order of doctors in Varese, Lombardy, told the UK Guardian today:

“In many cities there are people who still don’t understand the importance of staying at home. We need strict rules, all medics agree with the rules as one of the only weapons we have to fight this is to isolate. It is a sacrifice by all, for all, to try and overcome this situation.”

The news of the last 24 hours is a pandemic raging away and still to reach it peak.

The past four days had been horror days for Italy, for almost one Italian died of Covid-19 every four minutes – chalking a death toll of 427 on Thursday, 627 on Friday, 793 on Saturday and 651 on Sunday, reaching a horrendous total of 2,498 deaths in four days!

In fact, the healthcare system in Italy is on the verge of a breakdown as it seeks desperately to stem the spread of Covid-19.

With a toll of 5,476, Italy accounts for more than a third of the world’s total of 14,563 deaths. It has the second-highest number of cases with 59,079 out of the global total of 334,606.

Worldwide, the Covid-19 is on a rampage, the number of cases continuing to accelerate, growing by more than 100,000 cases in the past four days while the total toll globally has for the first time passed the 4,000-mark.

United States is now the third country behind China and Italy as the countries with the most cases of COVID-19 infections, with 33.623 cases, an increase of 9,443 in the last 24 hours, and with 89 deaths yesterday to reach a death toll of 406/

The seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic can be seen from the fact that it has reached every continent except Antarctica, and every state in America since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. The US has 85 million people subject to stay-at-home orders after New Jersey on Saturday joined New York, Connecticut, Illinois and California in ordering people to stay inside.

But all is not grim and bleak news – and its comes from China, which recorded its first new domestic case in four days.

The choice before Malaysians is to emulate China or Italy.

MP FOR ISKANDAR PUTERI
Media statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 23rd March 2020